By Tricia Ikem

The Association of Micro Entrepreneur of Nigeria (AMEN) has cried out to both the state and Federal Government over the worsening business challenges that have kill up to 68 percent of local industries in Nigeria.

The National President of AMEN, Prince Saviour Iche, lamented that hardship and poverty in Nigeria have worsened.

Iche at a news briefing on Saturday in Lagos decried the high cost of diesel which is about N750 per litre in Nigeria as there is no hope for electricity and even where there is, its usually very high.

He said the purpose of the press conference was to tell the Nigerian government and public that the micro entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nigeria are having a lot of challenges as can no longer survive because of some unfriendly policies.

The AMEN President complained about the rising costs of raw materials, diesel and electricity, adding that with the current situation local manufacturers can no longer produce.

He also noted that the issue of funding which the government promised in billions of naira to boast their businesses has not been received.

“Federal Government and state government need to do everything within its means to ensure that the remaining 32 percent of local industries that are on life support do not die .

“Our businesses have become comatose due to the incessant increase in the prices of raw material on daily basis”.

According to him, ‘the current situation of the nation is so bad that all sorts of thing are happening across the country, the few employed youths have been laid because of high cost of raw material from local manufacturers who had to shut down their factories.

“As of today if it’s by ratio we have about 68 percent local business that have folded up, the remaining 32 percent are struggling to survive and we can’t keep silent as if all is well, we need to speak up”, he added

Chief Mrs Yetunde Babajide, President and Chief Executive Officer of YEFADOT Group and one million Connection (YOBC),said that the nation’s local businesses situation has crashed due to their inability to keep up with the high cost of necessary raw materials.

“For more than one month now, the remaining 32 percent of local industries had to close down, there is no electricity, no water and diesel to run their generators.

According to her, ‘we are living in a dangerous environment ,we have lost hope, why are we keeping quiet when all is not well with the current situation?

“The issue of this country has to start from local government, state and federal.

“Recently, Lagos state government distributed yam seeding to some persons but we did not know who and who were the beneficiaries.

“I am a farmer by profession and I have over five hundred hectares of land in three different states before federal government approved about three hundred farmers for me to train them in different area of farming system and yet we didn’t benefit from the yam seedlings.

“Lagos state meant well, but all these were politicised, honestly, it was in the news we heard about yam seeding sharing, l and my people were not aware of it.

“When you want to give any thing that has to do with agriculture look for the farmers and coordinators of farmers, most of the things government are doing are going into the wrong hands”.

Babajide said that the government are giving what is supposed to be for fisherman to drivers, they need to change so that they can have enough people that will want to help and support them.

“Why is it that when they are sharing something they can not involve me or my members? I just hope that those people the government put in position will not frustrate government’s efforts.

Mrs Olatemi Taiwo, Chief Executive Officer of Waste Recycling Board, called on the authority to come to their aid as many micro businesses have died because of Ikeja electricity company.

She said that about 90 percent of Lagos state local industries that used to be a commercial life center of the whole country have been killed.

“If Lagos can do something positive other state will also come up with something positive.

“We have asked all our workers to go, we are no longer working and we can’t continue like this, we want the government and the governors to do something.

“We need alternative power to continue our businesses, we can’t continue to keep quiet, Chinese and India in Nigeria use alternative power supply we too need the same alternative power to run our industries. If our electricity is okay the economy of Nigeria will be good.

Taiwo noted that our leaders know the right thing to do but they are not doing it for their own selfish reasons.

“We the entrepreneurs are tired. “We can’t continue to import and import because when we produce we are also creating employment and empowerment for our youths, our youths are not lazy they are ready to work.

“If I may ask, the government that said that the youths should go into farming what and what did they put in place that will secure their lives and properties.

“The masses are hungry and dying, our university graduates are driving Keke and Okada, no future, is that what we are after, is that the type of future we need? our leaders should rise up,” she added.

Taiwo, however, added that every problem has a solution, therefore let the government subsidize alternative power, we have people who are ready to do it for us, if they can subsidize petrol and other things why can’t they subsidize other small micro businesses in Nigeria?.

“We can create fuelless generators that will power factories but unfortunately our leaders sit in their offices not ready to do anything.

Mazi Justin Nwaokoro, the secretary of the association said that they are trying to exist but that the government is not helping them.

He said that Nigeria is blessed with natural resources, the raw materials needed for production but are not making use of them due to the issue of insecurity.

“Local industries can’t produce any longer, how can we survive with the high cost of living. Government need to help us”.

Mrs Abosade Daniels, another entrepreneur said that government is looking down on entrepreneurs as if they are not contributing positively to the society.

” One tenth of our youths are being employed by this local manufactures but let them give us the necessary support to see if we can perform or not.

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